I can't tell you how many times I have heard " I dont know how you do this."
Sometimes I wonder how many times we all here that very same question. The thing is most people don't realize some days we ask ourselves that. How do I do this every day? How do I help the kids through this every day? How do you explain to them that people we do not know and never will, need daddy. How do you make a child understand that even though daddy loves us he loves his country too? Do they really understand? I think the answers sometimes surprise us. There are easy answers to those questions. We just dont always see the easy answers.
How do I do this every day? - Well it starts by getting up. You decide to put your feet on the floor and do something. You may not have a choice because things must be done but you could have just as easily said it is too hard to make it without him. But you didn't. You make a list of what has to be done. Your life revolves around lists, and piles of paperwork, and calendars with three sets of numbers on them. You know what each number represents even if no one else does. These tasks that you fill your days with may be trivial to some but they get you through another day. They distract your mind and hinder the tears. So how do you do this every day? One day at a time. Because each day is different. And you can't get to the end result unless you make it one day at a time.
How do you help your kids through it? You give them tangible things to relate to. Kiss jars, their own calenders to keep track of the days on, they have their daddy dolls, they write letters, and emails, when he can call you give them their own time with him. You do things to help keep them busy. And when they have a bad day you are there for them. Because you are their strength.
How do you explain to them that people we don't know need their daddy too? We all need him. There are people in this world who want to do bad things and your daddy is one of the many heros who gets to make sure they cant do bad things. He has a special job not everyone can have. He does things most people would never do so that we can do the things we like doing everyday. We all like to talk and say what we want to say, daddy helps make that possible. It may not always be fair because sometimes that means daddy has to miss birthdays and holidays but we get to live each day know that daddy is special. And we get to share him with people that are not as lucky as we are to get to know him. We get to hug him and give him kisses for all he does, not everyone knows everything he does so really we are the lucky ones.
How do you make a child understand that even though daddy loves us he loves his country too? You let them see him in uniform. That one is that simple. A serviceman even on a bad day looks proud in uniform. You let them know the story of why daddy joined. What they feel when they here the Star Spangled Banner. Or see a fly over. Or a flag at half mast. You tell them that daddy loves them above all else but he also loves what this country is about and that by serving he helps make it a better place for them.
Do they really understand? Watch them. Listen to them. You don't even have to ask them to get that answer. A military child is a special child. By the age of 3 they know how to properly salute. They know the difference in a M-60 and M-90. Why a boat goes underwater and a ship is above water. That it is not a Tomcat doing the fly over but it is a F/A 18. They can tell you the name and rank of their dad without missing a beat. They can tell you about every base they ever lived at in order. They know the words the the Star Spangled Banner by heart and will sing them loud and proud. They know to stand and cover their heart when it is played too. They know what a yellow ribbon family is and what a blue star stands for. Most importantly they will let anyone and everyone know that THEIR daddy is a solider. And above anything else HE is their hero. While other kids play with cars and super hero figures they are playing with tanks and GI Joes. They know what ACUs and NWUs are. When you take them to a public place and they do a salute to our Nations vets and active duty members they are quite and take it all in. But they have a gleam in their eye because they know 50,000 people are on their feet for their daddy. They will grow up with the knowledge that even though daddy has to say See you later sometimes it is because their are millions of people who need him to go do what he does. Yes they do understand. They understand way more than we will ever know.
So how do I do this? It's actually very simple. I do this because he does what he does. I stand beside him and he stands beside me. I may not physically be there at his side everyday but I am on one finger. A little piece of metal that reminds us both of why we do this. Because love tells us we can.It tells us that even half of the Earth can't separate us.So while the life of a military wife may not be for everyone it is definitely do able. We arent angels or even saints. What we are is the Silent Ranks. And I would never for a million years change anything about my life.